Banned ISRO ex-chief Nair again seeks 'justice' from PM

G Madhavan NairFormer Indian Space Research Organisation chairman Madhavan Nair, banned along with three former colleagues from ever holding a government-controlled position, has written a second letter to the Prime Minister's Office in as many months, claiming injustice has been done to them. (See: Antrix scam: former ISRO chief, 3 others barred from govenment jobs)

Nair, the architect of India's successful Chandrayan-II moon mission, has been claiming from the start that he and his colleagues were blacklisted without proper explanation by the department of space in order to cover its own mistakes.

Immediately after the blacklisting, Nair blamed K Radhakrishnan, his successor and the current ISRO chairman, for instigating the move, and following a ''personal agenda''.

In his latest letter addressed to minister of state in the PMO V Narayanaswamy, Nair has demanded a fresh inquiry into the whole issue arising from the Antrix-Devas deal.

The inquiries relate to the allegedly cheap sale of S-Band spectrum by Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO, to Devas, a private outfit founded by former ISRO scientists. The deal has since been scrapped.

Nair's letter comes close on the heels of the headline-making resignation of eminent aerospace scientist Roddam Narasimha last week. He headed the 'high powered review committee' set up by the government to probe the Antrix-Devas deal. In his resignation, he made it pretty clear that it was in support of Nair and his blacklisted colleagues (See: Distinguished Space Commission member Prof R Narasimha resigns). has earlier said he endorses most of the findings and accepts the criticisms of the Narasimha committee, which also comprised former cabinet secretary B K Chaturvedi. But a second committee set up under Pratyush Sinha was a pure witch-hunt; and its findings have never been fully made public, he insists.

In his latest letter, he has accused department of space of having misled the space commission by giving wrong inputs.

Nair has also come down heavily on the department of space for not making public the findings of yet another committee, the B N Suresh committee. He said this one-member committee had not recommended the cancellation of the Devas agreement, but only recommended its re-negotiation.

He also said security was not compromised by allocating 80 MHz S-band spectrum to a private firm.

''I have addressed (the charges) in a detailed letter,'' Nair told reporters in a brief interaction in Bangalore today. ''They have made certain charges point by point, I have explained these,'' he said.

He has addressed the letter to minister in the PMO Narayanasamy because ''I thought he should know there is something beyond official reports. That's my whole purpose.''

He further said, ''I also told them (in the letter) that we lost a golden opportunity (by annulling the contract). What needs to be enquired into is the reason for cancelling the contract and the process and procedure behind that.''

Nair said he has called for a comprehensive review of the rationale for cancelling the contract and also an assessment of the financial and technological losses caused by the cancellation.